Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

August 6, 2020
County commission tables Skywalk rezone

986 homes and 280,000-square-feet of new commercial space 

A new high-tech community in Erda is on hold as Tooele County Commissioners wait to find answers before they approve the rezone request for the project.

The Tooele County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to table a vote on a rezone request for the Skywalk development, west of the Erda airport.

“We need more time to look at this and get answers,” said Commissioner Kendall Thomas.

During the discussion was critical of the proposed use of Palmer Road as the subdivision’s east access to Erda Road.

“I don’t really like Palmer Road,” said Jay Nielsen, partner in West Valley City-based Skywalk Utah, LLC.  “We need it to meet fire code until we can replace it. We do have seven access points into the property.”

Nielsen expressed hope that as the property to the east, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is developed,Skywalk may be able to connect through that property and abandon plans for Palmer Road.

That wasn’t good enough for Thomas.

“I don’t like Palmer Road, the community out there doesn’t like Palmer Road, saying you don’t plan on using it is not good enough for me or the community,” Thomas said.

Ron Hatfield, another partner in Skywalk, said both the Church to the east and the airport on the west had been approached about selling a small enough piece of land for an access road, but they both refused.

“In the meantime we need to use Palmer Road, which was designed to be a through road to serve this property,” Hatfield said. “We are relying on past decisions.”

Commission Chairman Tom Tripp had questions about the development’s plan for sewer service.

The developers said that sewer service is still being negotiated.

If it is approved, the Skywalk community will be the first community in Tooele County built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — LEED — standards, according to Nielsen.

It has 986 residential units and over 280,000 acres of commercial space.

Skywalk’s plans, as presented by the developers, include green space, parks, trails, a public plaza, commuter parking, bus routes, and bicycle friendly roads.

“We plan to recruit high-tech businesses with up 2,000 employees for Skywalk,” Nielsen said. “Most of them, we think, will want to live and work in the community.”

The community includes a mix of apartments and residences  above commercial space and professional offices, townhomes, and single family residences. A 300-foot wide green space would separate Skywalk for the Golden Gardens subdivision.

Approved in November 2018, enough signatures were collected to put the Skywalk PUD on a ballot for a public vote.

As required by state law, County Attorney Scott Broadhead reviewed the petition after signatures were gathered.

Broadhead determined that, according to state code, the Skywalk development agreement was an administrative act and as such was not subject to a referendum.

A 3rd District Court judge agreed with Broadhead that Skywalk’s approval was a valid administrative decision and not subject to a referendum. 

But the judge’s ruling also stated that the applicant needed to submit a rezone request to bring the zoning in compliance with the approved PUD, due to language that was written into the approved development agreement for the PUD.

As a result, Skywalk’s representatives filed to change the property’s zoning from A-20 to planned community.

The County Commission conducted a second reading of that rezone request on Tuesday night.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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